Pittsburgh Pirates Win Series vs Tampa Bay Rays
The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 37-42 this season
Thursday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays did battle in the rubber match of their 3 game series. On paper, this game figured to be an excellent pitching matchup between Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon. Neither Archer nor Taillon would disappoint.
Taillon was absolutely fantastic on Thursday night and pitched the Pirates to a series victory. With their 4-0 victory, the Pirates improved to 4-7 on the season in interleague play. Also, with the win, the Pirates remain 4 games out of first place in the National League Central.
Both teams threatened to score early in Thursday night’s game.
In the top of the 1st inning, Jameson Taillon retired the first two Tampa Bay hitters. He then hit Evan Longoria with a pitch and allowed a single to Logan Morrison. However, Tim Beckham then struck out looking to end the inning.
With 1 out in the bottom of the 1st inning Chris Archer hit Josh Harrison with a pitch. This was Harrison’s National League leading 17th hit by pitch of the season. After this, the benches were warned.
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Andrew McCutchen then got a base hit to put a pair of runners on with 1 out for the Pirates. Archer would bounce back to strike out Josh Bell and John Jaso, however, to end the Pirate offensive threat.
Shane Peterson doubled to start the top of the 2nd inning and Adeiny Hechavarria reached on an infield hit. Josh Harrison then turned a top notch 5-4 double play to retire both Peterson and Hechavarria, leaving the Rays with a runner on first and 2 outs. Taillon then struck out Archer to end the inning.
The bottom of the 3rd inning saw the Pittsburgh Pirates draw first blood. With 1 out, Adam Frazier had a fantastic 10 pitch at bat that ended with an infield hit. After a Josh Harrison single, the Pirates had runners on the corners with just 1 out.
Andrew McCutchen then laced a 0-2 pitch into right field to score Frazier and make it 1-0 Pirates. Josh Bell then hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play. However, the Pirates led 1-0 after 3 innings of play.
In the bottom of the 4th inning the Pirate lead grew to 2-0 when John Jaso hit his 6th home run of the season. Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Pirates were victimized by some bad luck that kept them off the scoreboard.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the inning and Josh Harrison on first base, Andrew McCutchen hit a double. However, Harrison slipped rounding third forcing him to stay there. Josh Bell was then victimized by an atom ball when he lined out to left field to end the inning, stranding Pirate runners on second and third. Failing to score in the 5th inning would bite the Pirates later in the game.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, there would be no doubt about the Pirates extending their lead. With 1 out Gregory Polanco had a strong 8 pitch at bat that ended in his 6th home run of the season. This solo home run made it 3-0 Pirates.
The 6th inning was Chris Archer’s final inning of work. He allowed 3 runs on 8 hits, 2 home runs, no walks, and 5 strikeouts in his 6 innings pitched. The Pirate offense did a nice job of working one of the best starting pitchers in the game and getting 3 runs off of him on Thursday night.
In the top of the 7th inning, Jameson Taillon pitched himself into a pickle. He allowed a leadoff double to Jesus Sucre and then walked pinch hitter Mallex Smith. The Pirates would then benefit from the atom ball, when Steven Souza Jr. lined out to Jaso in left field.
Following the Souza at bat, Jameson Taillon was lifted for Tony Watson. The first batter he faced was Corey Dickerson and Watson struck him out for the second out of the inning. He then got Evan Longoria to pop out to Josh Bell to end the inning.
In his best start since returning from the disabled list Jameson Taillon hurled 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Thursday night. He allowed 7 hits, walked a pair, hit a batter, and struck out 4. What made this start so impressive is that the Rays have one of the best offenses in the American League.
The Pittsburgh Pirates used a 2 out rally to add to their lead in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, and National League best 18th time this season, Andrew McCutchen singled, and then Josh Bell collected a RBI single to make it 4-0 Pirates.
Juan Nicasio then took over for the Pirates in the top of the 8th inning. Nicasio would retire the Rays in order, which included recording a pair of strikeouts. Nicasio now has 37 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings pitched this season.
In the top of the 9th inning, the Clint Hurdle handed the ball to Edgar Santana. Despite allowing a 1 out single, Santana put up a zero in the 9th inning and struck a batter out. This capped off a 4-0 Pirate victory and marked the first series all season in which the Tampa Bay Rays were held without a home run.
In this series victory, the Pirate bullpen was outstanding. In 9 2/3 innings pitched, the Pirate bullpen allowed just 1 earned run. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come from the Pirate bullpen.
Next: 3 Indy Indians Named International League All-Stars
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a 3 game weekend series against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. Game 1 is scheduled for 7:05 PM in what should be another great pitching matchup between Gerrit Cole and Johnny Cueto.
This season the Giants have been one of the biggest surprises in the baseball, and not in a good way. Entering the season the Giants were one of the favorites in the National League, however, they enter this series with the second fewest wins in the National League.